Last week, Team Australia picked up another victory, as Richard Walsh outpointed Team Canada’s Matt DesRoches, leaving the team score at 3-2 in favor of the Canadians. Tonight, middleweights will be in the cage, as Australian judo ace Daniel Kelly takes on Sheldon Westcott.
Following their hard-fought two-rounder, Walsh and DesRoches shake hands back at the fighter house and congratulate each other on a competitive contest. Meanwhile, several fighters have once again begun to play in the snow. This time, nudity is involved, though the reason for the nakedness is not revealed.
In a confessional, Chad Laprise explains that he would like to fight Walsh in the welterweight semifinals and actually scrawls a makeshift contract on a sheet of notebook paper, affixing it to the fridge for all to see. Walsh says that he would prefer to face Kajan Johnson in the round of four, a matchup which Johnson calls his “best-case scenario.”
It was revealed last week that Westcott injured his right knee in training when a teammate accidentally fell on him awkwardly. The Canadian visits the hospital for examination, and he is relieved to find out that he has avoided serious injury and will be allowed to compete.
Johnson and Laprise are at odds due to their mutual desire to fight Walsh, which has the rest of the house laughing like school boys. However, there seems to be some legitimate tension building between Johnson and Laprise, and “Ragin’” believes that each man is beginning to view the other as a future threat. Coach Patrick Cote is absent from practice for two days due to undisclosed reasons, but his assistant coaches hold down the fort and give the fighters the attention they need.
Meanwhile, Australian coach Kyle Noke and assistant Israel Martinez laud the potential of Jake Matthews, while at the same time expressing some concern over the mental aspects of his game. Matthews has a stomach ache, causing him to take five. This does not fly with Martinez, who gives the 19-year-old a hard time and tells him to get back to sparring.
During Team Canada’s next training session, Westcott receives some one-one-one instruction on maximizing his effectiveness with a bum knee. The coaches want the prospect to use his jab to counter Kelly’s wild, heavy punches and to stay out of the judoka’s clinch. A four-time Olympian, Kelly says he is addicted to competition and “can’t wait” to get his hands on Westcott.
Both men clear the middleweight limit at the pre-fight weigh-ins, with Kelly checking in at 185 pounds and Westcott tipping the scales slightly lighter at 184. Right after the proceeding, Noke fires up the Xbox One and connects with Cote, who greets the fighters from UFC 167 in sunny Las Vegas. “The Predator” informs the competitors that as a special treat they will be able to watch the event that night from the fighter house, which has been stocked with junk food, beer and a massive, flat-screen TV. Noke and the rest of the coaches drops by the crib, and all the fighters seem to get a kick out of watching Georges St. Pierre defend his title against Johny Hendricks, though several of them are skeptical of the split decision win for the longtime champ.
Prior to their fight, Westcott and Kelly open up about their families. Westcott says that his nieces and nephews are the most important people in the world to him. Kelly, meanwhile, reveals that his son has a rare, incurable genetic disease called cystinosis.
“These next five years before he needs a kidney transplant, it would be really good to fight full-time and have that stability to know I can provide for my family and set us up for the future,” Kelly says. “This disease is degenerative, so he’s never going to get any better. Down the track, it’s just going to get worse.”
With both men now in the cage, they touch gloves to being their bout. Westcott charges forward with punches and a kick, his knee apparently no worse for wear. The younger fighter slams Kelly to the mat with a gut-wrench, but the wily judoka scrambles to his feet and to turns another slam attempt into a hip toss. Kelly averts most of the impact and wriggles his way on top of the Canadian, attempting to free one of his legs from Westcott’s grapevine. As Kelly turns, however, Westcott slips his arm around the Aussie’s neck, trapping him in an arm-triangle and rolling him onto his back. The 29-year-old quickly finds his squeeze and forces Kelly to submit.
Kelly is emotional after the defeat and appears to have injured his right knee. The Aussie immediately calls his performance “embarrassing,” though his coaches try to console him. Several members of Team Canada are continuing to scream like jerks as Kelly limps to the locker room. A dejected Kelly has his knee examined by the on-site doctor, who believes the Olympian may have torn a ligament.
The Australian immediately heads to the hospital, and his teammates take exception to what they have deemed as excessive celebration on the part of Johnson and Elias Theodorou. Team Canada has extended its lead, and the team score now stands at 4-2. With Westcott’s win, Cote regains control of the fight pick, and he chooses Olivier Aubin-Mercier to face Team Australia’s Jake Matthews next week.